Some important facts about medical malpractice in Louisiana

Medical malpractice is a growing concern in America as aging baby boomers - individuals born between 1946 and 1964 -- create more demand on hospitals and doctors. Almost anyone who has entered a hospital for surgery has had the fear that something could go wrong with the procedure and long-term health complications could result.

If you are a resident of the Pelican State, that fear may be somewhat more well-founded. According to The Louisiana Record, in 2015, Louisiana had the highest percentage of lawsuits paid out in the area of medical malpractice compared to all other states. The preliminary research of a doctor's track record is a wise use of time. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Time limit to file a claim?

There is a statute of limitations for filing a claim of medical malpractice in Louisiana. Generally speaking, you have one year from the date of the medical procedure to file a claim. However, in some instances, the statute of limitations is one year from the date of the discovery of the injury resulting from a negligent medical procedure. In other words, the recipient of medical care will not always know immediately if he or she has suffered harm or injury due to the health care provider's actions. Furthermore, if three or more years have elapsed since the date of the alleged malpractice, you cannot file a lawsuit regardless of the severity of the outcome of the medical procedure, according to Louisiana state law.

How much money can I get?

Louisiana does have limits on damages due to medical negligence. In most cases, $500,000 plus the future costs of medical bills is the limit. These damage limits are often called "caps" and in some states there are no damage caps for medical malpractice. Every case is unique and the exact amount of damages is difficult to determine because there are no clear rules. The amount of pain and suffering play a part as does the ability to earn income in the future.

Should I hire a lawyer?

If you believe you are the victim of medical negligence, you should hire an experienced attorney. Determining who is at fault and the likely cost of future medical expenses will be a complicated matter. You want a seasoned professional in your court who has the ability to evaluate your particular situation and how much compensation you are entitled to.

Medical malpractice is a growing concern in America and perhaps more so in Louisiana. If you, or someone you love, have been the victim of negligence from a healthcare provider, it is important not to wait too long to hire an experienced lawyer so that the statute of limitations does not run out. Your choice of representation could make all the difference in your financial stability and your long-term health.